No one was injured following a fire at the Terrace Paving asphalt plant on Wednesday evening. A large oil-storage tank was exposed to 12 to 15-foot flames coming from an oil heater used to keep the asphalt inside fluid. (Lynn Parker photo)

Thornhill firefighters respond to fire at Terrace asphalt paving plant

Firefighters arrived on scene to discover an oil heater ablaze

No injuries were reported following the spectacular fire Wednesday evening at the Terrace Paving asphalt plant along Highway 16.

Thornhill Fire Department Chief Rick Boehm said crews responded to a call of a commercial structure fire at 4330 Hwy16 East around 5:20 p.m. on July 11.

Firefighters arrived on scene to discover one of two large oil-storage tanks used for the asphalt-making process was directly exposed to 12 to 15-foot tall flames coming from an oil heater, used to keep the product inside the tanks fluid.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze within 30 minutes using a water-foam mixture before cooling the tanks with 23,300 gallons of water to ensure there was no risk of explosion.

“This is a unique situation, it’s not something that you would encounter. If we see this again in our career, it would be pretty limited,” said Boehm. “It could have been ugly but we were very lucky.”

Hwy 16 was shut down for 30 minutes as crews set up an 800-metre evacuation zone around the area. Terrace RCMP were also called in to help assist with traffic.

Boehm said it’s unknown how the oil heater caught fire in the first place but suspects the gas-fired heater had malfunctioned.

Marko Rutar, area manager for Terrace Paving and Kentron Construction in Kitimat, drove across town to be on site as soon as he heard about the blaze. He said he hadn’t experienced an incident like this in his 30-year career.

“We’re lucky in that the big oil tanks didn’t catch on fire, that would have been a much more serious issue,” Rutar said over the phone. “The fire department did an awesome job getting there quick… keeping the tanks cool before it could get out of control.”

He said the heater can run for extended periods of time but has a temperature gauge to turn the system on and off as needed.

“Obviously it was some sort of electronic failure, but all the evidence has been destroyed. We’ll never really know,” he said.

No staff were on site during the fire as the plant had been closed for that day.

Rutar said another heater will be brought in over the next couple days to replace the damaged unit.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The Thornhill Fire Department set up an 800-metre evacuation zone around the area until the blaze was under control, shutting down Hwy 16 East for 30 minutes on Wednesday evening. (Lynn Parker photo)

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

CMTN First Nations Fine Arts program offers new advanced diploma

The 10-month program will focus on enhancing jewellery, sculpture and marketing skills

Terrace spawns new salmon art festival

This week’s featured artist: Casey Braam

Back in buisness: former Sears franchisees go it alone

Boota and Diljit Uppal’s new store opens in same location

Terrace minor softball wins big at provincials

U14 team won gold, U16 team nabbed silver in nail-biter finish, U12 placed fourth

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Kitten OK after being rescued from underground pipe in B.C.

An adventurous feline has been rescued after getting trapped in an underground pipe in Kamloops, B.C.

A day after back-tracking, Trump defends summit performance

Amid bipartisan condemnation of his embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, Trump at first sought to end 27 hours of recrimination by delivering a rare admission of error Tuesday.

Thai soccer players rescued from cave meet the media

Members of the Thai youth soccer team who were trapped in a cave have left the hospital where they have been treated since their rescue.

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a ‘pedo’

Musk called a British diver involved in the Thailand cave rescue a pedophile to his 22.3 million Twitter followers on July 15.

Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Most Read